Monday, 28 April 2014

Hosts Dominate Fifth Round

After a packed Easter programme, the focus turned to the Challenge Cup fifth round as 16 sides faced off for a place in the last eight. 

Hardaker Double Sinks Saints

The tie of the round was the clash at Headingley between Leeds and St Helens with Leeds in red-hot form and Saints looking to avoid a third successive defeat.

Leeds made a perfect start when Hardaker crossed in the fifth minute with Sinfield converting for 6-0 but were pegged back nine minutes later by a Swift try and Walsh conversion to level the score.
Hardaker put the hosts in front just before the interval with his second score of the afternoon and Sinfield converted for a 12-6 half-time lead.

Sinfield made it 14-6 with a 45th minute penalty and Moon crossed to extend the lead four minutes later with Sinfield converting for 20-6 giving Saints a mountain to climb to void an exit from the competition.

The visitors reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute through Jones' try with Walsh  converting for 20-12. Leeds confirmed their place in the last eight with two tries in the final six minutes from McGuire (74) and Peacock (78) with Sinfield ending with a 100% record from the boot kicking for 32-12. Correct result but a bit off on my prediction of 28-22.

Cougars Out Roar Lions

Swinton hosted Championship rivals Keighley with a place in the last eight at stake and it was the visitors who made the better start.

Lawton crossed inside three minutes for the opening try but Swinton levelled and then led in the eighth minute through a Bowman try and Peet conversion for 6-4.

Bowman extended the lead six minutes later for 10-4 but Keighley regained the lead with two tries in nine minutes from Sheriffe (Jones conv) and Barnett for 10-14 lead which was 10-16 at the interval after Jones sent over a penalty goal.

Craven crossed six minutes after the break for Keighley with Jones converting for a 10-22 lead which was increased further with Barnett's second in the 54th minute as the visitors led 10-26.

Swinton came back with two tries in as many minutes with Bowman completing his hat-trick, Peet converting and then Lewis crossing for 20-26. The fightback by the Lions ended when a minute later Williams scores for the Cougars with Jones converting for 20-32.

Handforth had the last say for the Cougars with a 75th minute drop goal that sent them into the last eight with hopes of a tie against a Super League giant. A correct result and a close prediction score wise of 22-24.

Dragons Fall To Bulls Comeback

After a humiliating 84-6 loss to Wigan on Easter Monday, Bradford hosted Catalan who were in red-hot form and favourites to advance.

Catalan raced into a 0-16 lead with tries from Millard (2), Pomeroy (10) and Elima (13) coupled with two conversions from Barthau giving the Bulls faithful despair of another hammering.

However, Bradford came back stunningly with three tries in nine minutes before the interval with Gaskell (29) and a Foster double in the 34th and 38th minutes joined by a trio of conversions from Foster for a 18-16 lead.

Gale crossed three minutes into the second period with Foster converting for a 24-16 lead and Bradford had the momentum and used it to go to 30 points as Purtell scored with Foster converting for 30-16.

Oldfield ended the Bulls scoring spree with a try for Catalan in the 62nd minute but a missed conversion meant they were still two scores behind at 30-20.

Bradford confirmed the win with two late kicks with Foster sending over a penalty (76) and Gale kicking an 80th minute drop goal for 33-20. Not the result I predicted and the score of 16-30 was wide as a result.

Centurions Maintain 100% Record

A battle between the Championship's top two saw Leigh host Featherstone ahead of a meeting in the league next week.

Leigh flew out of the blocks with a Brierley try in the first minute converted by Ridyard for 6-0 but were pegged back by a Sharp try in the seventh minute to put the score at 6-4.

Featherstone went in front with two tries in seven minutes from Mendeika (16) and Sharp (23) for a 6-12 lead with Brierley crossing for his second and Ridyard converting in the 26th minute for a 12 all score.

Leigh went in front on the hour mark with a try from Kay and extended the lead seven minutes later when Haggerty scored for a 20-12 lead.

Brierley completed his hat-trick and surely sealed the win in the 74th minute when he converted for 26-12 but Featherstone had the last say with two minutes remaining when Mendeika claimed his second try for 26-16 with the Rovers ruing the missed conversions that could have made it 26-24.  A correct result and a close prediction of 30-24.

Vikings End Red Devils Hopes

Salford looked to bounced back from a poor Easter as they hosted Widnes.

The visitors raced into a 0-12 lead with tries from Galea (12) and Brown (16) both converted by Tickle. Hock reduced the deficit for Salford in the 25th minute but Hanbury crossed four minutes from the break with Tickle converting for a 4-16 lead at the interval.

Hanbury claimed his second in the 48th minute with Tickle making it 5/5 with the boot for 4-24 and Sau crossed for the hosts to make it 8-24.

Two tries in as many minutes from Tasi (75) and Hock (77) both converted by Lee gave Salford hope at 20-24 but that diminished in the final minute when White crossed for Widnes and Owens sealed a 20-30 win with the resulting conversion. A failed result but a close score prediction of 28-22.

Warrington Crush Doncaster   

Warrington hosted Championship side Doncaster in what sadly was an easy win for the Wolves.

Warrington raced into a 18-0 lead inside 20 minutes with scores from Penny (9), Russell (14) and Atkins (19) with all three converted by Bridge.

Doncaster did well to keep their hosts out for the next 17 minutes but Warrington went into the break buoyed by two tries in as many minutes from Bridge who also converted both for a 30-0 lead.

Three minutes into the second period the Wolves were in again through Dwyer with Bridge converting for a sixth time for 36-0.

Doncaster just were unable to get on the score-sheet and fell further behind two four tries in twelve minutes with Monaghan (55), Bridge completing his hat-trick (59) and a double from Penny (63,67) with three conversions from Bridge making it 56-0.

Warrington reached 60 points when Bridge crossed for his fourth and converted and had the final say by converting a 79th minute try from Evans for 68-0 and a personal tally of 36 points. Correct result but slightly wide on the prediction of 44-18.

Warriors Overpower Gutsy Hunslet

Wigan looked to keep up their hopes of retaining the trophy when they hosted Championship One leaders Hunslet.

Wigan made a perfect start with four tries in eleven minutes from Williams (3), Bowen (5), Smith (8) and Farrell (11) all crossed with Smith converting all four for a 24-0 lead. Hunslet came back with two tries with Grimshaw (13) and Mapals (20) scoring either side of Bowen;s second in the 16th minute to make the score 30-8.

Smith claimed his second of the afternoon and kicked his sixth conversion for a 46-8 lead in the 25th minute before turning provider for Bowen to complete his hat-trick with Smith making it 42-8 with the boot.

Hunslet did well to keep the gap at 34 points for the remaining 13 minutes of the half and began the second half in the same respect but were caught out by a run from Sarginson in the 47th minute as Wigan went to 48-8.

From there the scoring seemed to die down as both sides were unable to find an end product from their respective sets but Wigan had the final say as James crossed in the 72nd minute.  Smith converted for an eighth time for a personal haul of 24 points as Wigan won 52-8. A correct result and a close one on the prediction of 70-12.

Tigers Ease Past Eagles

The final game of the round saw Castleford host Championship side Sheffield and it was the visitors who had the perfect start.

Turner crossed after only three minutes to stun the home crowd for 0-4 but Castleford levelled and then went ahead with a double from Carney in the 7th and 11th minutes for 8-4.

Millington and Gibson crossed to put the hosts further ahead with Dixon converting the first for an 18-4 lead with Dixon adding a try in the 28th minute for 22-4.

Castleford were on fire as the scored three in four minutes as Ellis (32), Clark (33) and Carney's third in the 36th minute putting them in control at 36-4 into the interval.

Straugher crossed for Sheffield in the 46th minute with Blagbrough converting to make it 36-10 but Cas cancelled out the try with two of their own as Tansey (52) and Ellis (55) scored with Sneyd converting both to take the score to 48-10.

Holmes made it eleven tries for the hosts in the 61st minute with Sneyd converting again to bring up the 50 point mark at 54-10 but Ashton crossed for the visitors and Brambani converted for 54-16.

Castleford had the last say as Carney crossed for his fourth try of the afternoon in the 77th minute and Sneyd converted for a 60-16 win. A correct result and a tad off in the prediction of 48-20.

The draw for the quarter-finals saw four good ties drawn for an exciting weekend of games.

Holders Wigan will host Castleford ahead of a league meeting between the two a week later, Warrington travel to face a revitalised Bradford, Keighley's reward is a trip to Widnes while in what could be a battle between league leaders, Leigh will travel up to face Leeds.